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Proceedings Paper

Limits on imaging resolution of focused ion-beam systems
Author(s): Jon Orloff
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Paper Abstract

Focused ion beam systems are capable of very high performance in terms of both beam size and the current density focused on a specimen. Sub-10 nanometer beam size is now routinely obtained with current densities of 1 - 10 A cm-2. The limitations on beam size include beam space charge interactions (radial broadening) as well as the usual source size and system optical aberrations. In addition to these effects the imaging resolution is affected by the signal-to-noise ratio of the ion beam, secondary electron generation and system electronics. Therefore, when calculating imaging resolution it is necessary to take into account the fact that the ion beam is a destructive probe and sputters away the target as it generates information about it. Because imaging resolution depends in a fundamental way on the system signal-to- noise there is a limit on the size of the detail that can be resolved: the beam can destroy an object before an adequate signal from it can be detected. Thus sputtering of the target determines a fundamental limit on the imaging resolution (but not beam size) of a focused ion beam system.

Paper Details

Date Published: 25 September 1995
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 2522, Electron-Beam Sources and Charged-Particle Optics, (25 September 1995); doi: 10.1117/12.221599
Show Author Affiliations
Jon Orloff, Univ. of Maryland/College Park (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2522:
Electron-Beam Sources and Charged-Particle Optics
Eric Munro; Henry P. Freund, Editor(s)

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